Construction of the high-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai, currently awaiting green light from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), will start this year, a Chinese lawmaker said Monday.
"The NDRC is reviewing the feasibility report of the project... It will get approved sooner or later this year," Lang Guoping, deputy head of the preparation team with the Beijing-Shanghai passenger line company, said on the sidelines of the fifth session of the National People's Congress (NPC).
Once completed, trains on the express railway will reach speeds exceeding 350 kilometers per hour, shortening the nine-hour trip to five hours.
Lang, an NPC deputy, said the railway is designed to serve 100 years and the construction "has no technological problems."
More than eighty percent of the high-speed trains will be manufactured in China and only 10 to 15 percent of trains will be imported, Lang said.
China has set up joint ventures with Siemens of Germany, Alsthom of France, Bombardier of Canada and Kawasaki Machinery Industrial Co. of Japan to produce the trains.
Early reports said that the construction of the express railway, which was supposed to start last year, was delayed because the original budget underestimated the cost of construction by more than 50 percent.
Lang dismissed such reports, saying that "there is no problem with construction funds." But he didn't elaborate.
The trains now in service between China's two largest municipalities have speeds between 140 and 160 kilometers per hour.